By Christopher Smith
CHATSWORTH — North Murray High School teacher Lindsay Miller has received thank-you notes or gifts from seniors preparing to graduate. But what senior Emma Lanning gave was “beyond words,” Miller said.
Lanning honored Miller with the Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction award, given to Miller by the National Society of High School Scholars on April 20 at an induction ceremony in Memphis, Tenn.
The award — named after a member of the Nobel family like the Nobel Prize Awards — was given to Miller after Lanning picked her as her go-to teacher when Lanning was inducted into the society early last month. Lanning was picked because she had a grade point average of at least 3.5, was in the top 10 percent of her class and be nominated by someone within Murray County Schools.
“I have no idea who nominated me,” Lanning said with a smile. “I think I’d like to know, but I don’t know.”
What Lanning does know is that joining the society, which aims to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers, is a perfect fit. Lanning said she plans to attend Freed Hardeman University in Memphis to study biology next year and eventually go to graduate school to become a dentist.
Members of the society can network with one another and apply for scholarships. Lanning says those benefits will help her as she sets off into adulthood, but for now she is “just extremely honored” for being nominated.
“I’m glad I’ve been recognized for my hard work,” she said. “And I’m glad I can recognize Mrs. Lindsay. She has helped me, both inside and outside the classroom. She’s one of the best teachers I’ve ever had and have ever known. She’s always willing to help no matter what the circumstances are.”
Most of the time the circumstances have been “rewarding,” Miller added.
“To feel like you’ve made an impact on a student’s life is amazing,” she said. “It’s rewarding to know you’re appreciated. I am truly honored.”
Lanning said she doubts she would find a teacher as good as Miller at any other high school.
“It’s been a really good experience at North Murray,” she said. “I thought I would be going to Murray County High School and then this got built. I’m glad this place got built. I’m really glad I’m here and not there.”
Lanning said she’s also excited to get out of Chatsworth after she walks, but will consider herself an ambassador for all Murray County.
“I’m trying to spread the word to promote the schools here,” she said. “And to promote the National Society of High School Scholars so others can get involved. I think I’m the only one from Murray County who is involved in this. It’s really great.”